The start of the 2023/24 EFL League Two season is right around the corner and Swindon Town will be eager to bounce back, following their disappointing outing in the previous campaign, but with that said, let’s preview the club’s upcoming campaign.
Michael Flynn’s side will be heading into the League Two campaign eager to bounce back, following their 10th-placed finish last season, but let’s take a look at their business so far, players they’ve lost, upcoming fixtures and much more.
Swindon boss Michael Fynn was appointed manager of the football club on May 8th, hours before his new side faced Crawley Town on the final day of the League Two campaign, in which the club picked up a 2-1 victory, including a stunning strike from Jake Cain.
The club’s first bit of business, saw them successfully manage to tie down experienced striker Charlie Austin for another season. The 34-year-old scored nine goals after joining in January, which included four goals in a single match, which arguably set the side off on a flying start.
That same day, Swindon then published their official retained/release list following the conclusion of the campaign. This saw eight players make permanent exits from the League Two side, which included Cian Harries, Harry Parsons and Welsh playmaker Jonny Williams, whilst defender Mathieu Baudry announced his retirement from professional football.
After almost six weeks without any news regarding transfers, the club’s very first piece of business saw defender Ellis Iandolo complete a permanent switch to fellow League Two side Colchester United for an undisclosed fee. This move marked the end of an era for the defender but brought in cash for Michael Flynn’s side.
The 2022/23 season ended on May 8th, but Swindon failed to land their first summer addition until June 29th, almost two months later. This saw the club replace loan star Sol Brynn with fellow goalkeeper Murphy Mahoney, on loan from Championship side Queens Park Rangers.
This was followed up with the news that defender Tom Brewitt had agreed a new contract with the club until June 2024, following the expiry of his short-term deal with the club.
A further two-weeks passed, before Swindon were back involved in the transfer window. This saw the club land MK Dons playmaker Dan Kemp on a season-long loan deal, which has been one of the division’s standout signings so far, as broken by TheRealEFL’s Ryan Whelan.
During the next two-weeks, Swindon Town confirmed five departures, as their preparations for the upcoming season began. Ricky Aguiar (Worthing), Anton Dworzak & Sonny Hart (Gloucester) and Tomi Adeloye (Partick) all headed out on loan, whilst Ronan Darcy completed a move to Crawley Town for an undisclosed fee.
However at long last, Swindon became active in the transfer window, making three key signings, ahead of their season opener this weekend. They began with the addition of Walsall’s Liam Kinsella on a free transfer, adding leadership qualities in the side’s midfield.
Bradford forward Jake Young was next to arrive, completing a season-long loan move to the club, in order to further bolster their attacking options after Luke Jephcott’s loan deal expired.
48 hours before the season opener, Swindon confirmed the arrival of Forest Green Rovers defender Udoka Godwin-Malife, which will add a significant improvement to the club’s defensive line, ahead of the upcoming campaign.
Elsewhere, Swindon’s Marcel Lavinier moved in the opposite direction, joining Forest Green Rovers on a permanent contract.
Swindon Town began pre-season in comfortable fashion, picking up a 2-0 victory against Swindon Supermarine, courtesy of goals either side of half-time from Jake Cain and Tom Brewitt.
Michael Flynn’s side made it two from two, as they put five goals past Non-League side Melksham Town. Experienced forward Charlie Austin got Swindon off to the perfect start, before Frazer Blake-Tracy, Tomi Adeloye, Tyrese Shade and Ricky Aguiar sealed a 5-0 win.
Swindon then took a young side to face Non-League side Corsham Town, which ended in a 2-0 loss. Neither Michael Flynn nor any of the regular first-team side featured, as a youthful side secured the club’s first loss of pre-season.
However, things took a dramatic turn for the worst, as Swindon were beaten 7-1 against Championship side Bristol City in a behind closed doors match. Bristol City’s Tommy Conway grabbed four goals, despite Rushian Hepburn-Murphy netting an equaliser after 22 minutes.
The bad news continued for Swindon as they were beaten 2-0 by National League North side Hereford in their next pre-season friendly. Hereford’s Jason Cowley grabbed a brace as Swindon settled for a third consecutive defeat.
In the club’s penultimate pre-season match, they were held to a 2-2 draw against National League side Eastleigh. Charlie Austin grabbed his second goal of pre-season to give Swindon the lead, before Saidou Khan added a second mid-way through the second-half. Unfortunately, Eastleigh’s Scott Quigley and Enzio Boldewijn added late goals to force a draw.
Fortunately for Swindon, they ended pre-season with a vital victory against Championship side Plymouth Argyle, winning 3-1. Dan Kemp grabbed his first Swindon goal with a well-struck volley early in the second-half, before Rushian Hepburn-Murphy made it two. Morgan Whittaker pulled one back before substitute Jake Wakeling added a third late on.
Start to the season
Swindon Town will begin the 2023/24 League Two season with a trip to Colchester United, as they will reunite with former manager Ben Garner. The club will then host Crewe Alexandra in their first home league fixture, before making a midweek trip to Forest Green Rovers and again as they face National League champions Wrexham and a home match against Crawley Town will end August for Michael Flynn’s side.
During August, the club will also have two further cup matches to participate in. This begins with a trip to League One side Peterborough United in the EFL Cup, before hosting Arsenal U21s later on in the month in the EFL Trophy.
September will consist of the fixture against Doncaster Rovers before back-to-back home matches against Sutton United and Walsall, with Michael Flynn’s side aiming to get off to the best possible start to relieve any doubt that supporters or rival fans may have on his side.
Going into Saturday’s season opener against Colchester United, Swindon will have to deal with injuries within their already smaller squad. Firstly, defender Tom Clayton sustained an injury against Bristol City and is unlikely to be fit for the start of the season.
Similarly, Reece Devine has sustained a serious long-term injury setback and will be out for the foreseeable future.
There are no further injury concerns that have been publicised so far, but we await to discover the true factor of the squad, which will be revealed in Michael Flynn’s pre-match interview on Friday before the game against Colchester.
Ongoing transfer rumours
Given the lack of squad depth for Swindon Town at the moment, it is almost certain that the side will be looking to land several new players into their ranks for the upcoming campaign.
Manager Michael Flynn has confirmed the side were close to signing three players with one of those players (Udoka Godwin-Malife) making the switch to the League Two side already. However, the additional two players are yet to be confirmed and it is unclear as to whether they will arrive before Saturday’s clash with Colchester United.
Former Chelsea academy graduate Tariq Uwakwe is another player that has heavily been linked with a move to the club, but whether he is signed before the Friday 12pm deadline, remains to be seen.
It is common knowledge that due to injuries, Swindon are lacking in defensive options. This could suggest that at least one more defender will be joining Michael Flynn’s side, but until anything is confirmed, it remains a mystery.
Swindon Town are heading into the opening match of the League Two season with 25 first-team players, with four of those players out on loan. However, it is still unclear as to whether the club will look to add any additional players before this weekend’s clash with Colchester begins. The current squad is as follows;
Goalkeepers: Murphy Mahoney, Conor Brann
Defenders: Remeao Hutton, Thomas Clayton, Frazer Blake-Tracy, Tom Brewitt, Reece Devine, Udoka Godwin-Malife, Harrison Minturn, Harvey Fox
Midfielders: George McEachran, Saidou Khan, Dan Kemp, Jake Cain, Liam Kinsella, Jaxon Brown
Forwards: Jake Young, Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Jacob Wakeling, Tyrese Shade, Charlie Austin
Out on loan: Sonny Hart, Anton Dworzak, Ricky Aguiar, Oluwatomisin Adeloye
With all that being said, how do you think Swindon Town will do this season? Will they compete for promotion? Who else will they sign? Feel free to let us know.